When Gigi Buffon announced that he was leaving Juventus after the season finale in May, the door was left open for there to be a season or two with a club after the club he spent the last 17 seasons with.
Now that Buffon has seen his contract in Turin expire and become a free agent, that day where he is officially a player for somebody other than Juventus has arrived.
What has basically been one of the top options from the get-go, Paris Saint-Germain, is the destination, the club announced on social media Friday, and the day that Buffon will be unveiled as a PSG player, according to La Gazzetta and other outlets in the Italian media, is set for Monday.. (Nobody wanted to take away from what proved to a 2-0 France win over Uruguay in the World Cup quarterfinals earlier in the day.)
Buffon has signed a one-year contract that has an option for a second season.
Buffon, 40, is expected to be unveiled at a press conference on Monday in Paris.
Entering the 2017-18 season, the assumption was that Buffon was going to retire at the end of the campaign. He has spoken openly about retirement along the way over the past 12 months, be it in the Players’Tribune or on Juventus’ Netflix series (which just released it’s last three episodes, by the way). But, as the season went on and Italy subsequently didn’t qualify for the World Cup, the possibility of playing on beyond the end of what proved to be his final Juve contract became more and more of a possibility.
And now, we know that for the first time in his career, Buffon will be playing somewhere other than in Italy.
It’s safe to say he earned that right to decide if he wanted his career to extend past his 41st birthday. Outside of the ever-elusive Champions League trophy, Buffon has won every single thing that there is to win at the club level. He was one of the faithful stars that stayed with Juventus during the one season in Serie B. He was the natural successor to Alessandro Del Piero as Juve’s captain.
It will be weird to see Buffon in a different goalkeeper kit other than that of Juventus and the Italian national team. And I’m sure there will be some feelings coming back that say that Buffon should have ended his career in Turin rather than Paris. But, if there’s ever somebody to judge whether they’re still capable of playing at a high level, it’s a guy who has been the best there is for two decades. For that, knowing that 17 years of it came in a Juve jersey, we are eternally grateful.